Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

What's going on

Recent events organised by CIPFA in the North East

This page serves as an archive of recent CIPFA in the North East events. Details of upcoming events can be found on the CIPFA North East homepage.

Annual Conference, Friday 12th November 2021

The tenth CIPFA North East annual conference was held on Friday 12th November at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Over 70 people attended the conference including many colleagues from across the UK regions who had arrived the previous day for the CIPFA Regional Forum, also hosted by the North East.

We opened with a welcome from the current CIPFA NE president, and host for the day, James Charlton. The first presentation was delivered by Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive Officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, and immediate past CIPFA president. Andy provided a national CIPFA update and summarised the recent financial landscape as well as the future challenges the public sector faces in light of the pandemic, and significant funding challenges facing the sector.

Next up was Michael Brodie, Chief Executive of NHS Business Services Authority. He presented eleven of his 'takes' from the recent pandemic and provided some real life and thought-provoking ideas for attendees to consider. Following Michael was John Fenwick, Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, who delivered a detailed presentation covering many aspects of the well-known Metro System. Delegates were taken on a journey (excuse the pun!) from the initial concept through to the present day and into the future including infrastructure renewal and fleet replacement.

After a short lunch break, sessions continued with a fact-filled presentation from Claire Thompson, sustainability lead at Livin Ltd. She presented stark facts around climate change and global warming, consequences of this, likely effects of inaction and what can be done in mitigation. A real wake-up call to all to do whatever possible to help in this time of crisis.

Next up Tony Gates, Chief Executive of the Northumberland National Park Authority, gave an insightful look into the organisation. Covering recent challenges faced by budget cuts leading to centre closures and the subsequent impact on visitor numbers, the authority are now looking to the future. Helped by official government advice to exercise outside, visitor numbers have increased significantly. Using 'recover together' as a key concept encompassing economy, people, nature, climate and place the organisation faces a positive future despite ongoing funding pressures.

The penultimate session, presented by Paul Dunn (Executive Financial Director), Sarah Rose (Divisional Director Northumbria NHS Manufacturing Innovation Hub) and Paul Price (Commercial Director) took delegates through a fascinating insight in to the creation of a PPE manufacturing hub at the height of the pandemic. Faced with worldwide PPE shortages a factory was set up and running within six weeks, producing large volumes of equipment for use by health care professionals across the region. The hub continues to go from strength to strength, producing goods at a fraction of imported prices, gaining increased commercial orders and venturing into new service areas.

The final session was delivered by Michelle Percy, Director of Place at Newcastle City Council. Michelle explained the impact COVID-19 has had on the city and plans for recovery based on a place-based approach, this including skills, business growth, the future economy, community and place and digital and transport. Examples of recent schemes and investment in the city, by both government and private enterprise, were covered illustrating how Newcastle City Council is emerging from the Pandemic and looking to the future with ambitious place-based plans.

The day ended with attendees taking the opportunity to catch up and network over drinks with CIPFA friends and colleagues they had not seen on a face to face basis for two years. There was evident enthusiasm for safe face-to-face gatherings which bodes well for 2022, when CIPFA North East has an ambitious programme of both online and face to face events, which we look forward to welcoming you to in the New Year!

Download copies of available presentation slide decks

2021 AGM, Wednesday 24th March 2021

The latest CIPFA in the North East AGM took place virtually. Preceding the main meeting, a number of online presentations were delivered by key finance figures from across the North East, including Tony Kirkham (Director of Resources, Newcastle City Council), Sir James Mackey (Chief Executive, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) and Lindsey Whiterod CBE OBE (Chief Executive, Tyne College and Academy Trust). Interesting and insightful commentary was provided and all three gave their thoughts and perspectives around the role of finance and the challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19.

The AGM itself was well attended and covered the usual items including the latest financial position and appointment/re-appointment of executive members. The meeting included the hand over of the presidential reigns to James Charlton, who will be ably assisted by Bruce Parvin as vice president for the next two years. A massive thanks to Jim Dafter, the outgoing regional President, who has led the North East region magnificently through probably the most challenging socioeconomic crisis of our time! To conclude, George Clark hosted a pub quiz which went down a storm and brought the curtain down on the AGM for another year.

2020 AGM, Thursday 16th July 2020

The CIPFA in the North East annual conference was held remotely, with over 20 attendees hearing from our President, Jim Dafter, on highlights from his first year in post. This was followed by a summary of the last financial year by Matt Calvert, the CIPFA NE Treasurer. The accounts were accepted by the executive. Reelection of executive members was also agreed at the meeting, with some non-executive volunteers stepping down. CIPFA NE would like to place on record their thanks and appreciation for the help and assistance by those volunteers over the time they have been involved.

Concluding the meeting, attendees heard from two key leaders in the North East region. John Fenwick from Nexus highlighted the major challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak has placed on Tyne and Wear Metro services and finances. Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, also explained the challenges faced from a local government perspective and how they have stepped up to provide services in such an unprecedented situation. Recordings of both interviews can be watched below:

Women in Leadership Event, Tuesday 28th January 2020

The second Women in Leadership event was held at Northumbria University's Hedley Suite. Attendees heard from many speakers talking about their work, career and personal experiences, providing invaluable tips and advice to empower women to achieve their goals. Some clear themes that emerged from the event were the importance of mentoring, volunteering and seeking opportunities outside work such as trusteeships, and how we can learn from history about the courage and determination of other women.

After a brief introduction from Judith Savage, CIPFA North East past president, Jaki Salisbury started the day taking everyone through her career path including setting up a new unitary council in Bedfordshire. The next speaker, Lucy Winskell CBE from Northumbria University, following a similar theme, gave an informative insight into her career to date with key messages echoing those of Jaki. After a short break the Rt. Hon Baroness Joyce Quin took delegates through a fascinating insight into her book Angels of the North – Notable Women of the North East, from Suffragettes to MPs to local heroines! The last morning session, presented by Charlotte Windebank, discussed challenges she has faced, from humble beginnings on a boat on the River Tyne to running her own business helping connect young entrepreneurs with established business people.

Following a quick lunch break the afternoon started in earnest with breakout sessions covering topics including 'In conversation with....', financial planning and exploring issues and solutions facing women in the workplace. Delegates then reconvened in the main room for the final two sessions. The first, by Jo Smith, centred around career tips from her experience as a partner in a large firm. The final session of the day by Sarah Salter focused on coaching and provided an entertaining introduction, including music and dancing! Judith wrapped the day up by thanking attendees, along with hosts, volunteers and sponsors who made the second Women in Leadership event a big success.

Annual Conference, Friday 22nd November 2019

Over 90 people gathered for the 2019 CIPFA NE annual conference at the Sage, Gateshead. The day started with sessions around the Northern Spire and its place in the overall development of a primary access corridor between the A19 and Sunderland's Port area, followed by a NHS update around funding challenges and priorities faced by the health service. The next session focused on the UK economy, highlighting the challenges markets and businesses are facing in an unprecedented period of financial uncertainty. Next up, a representative from the North East Counter Terrorism unit provided an insight into the workings of UK counter terrorism along with some sobering thoughts and advice on how to best protect yourself in the event of being caught up in a terrorist incident.

After a quick lunch and opportunity to catch up with colleagues, the focus moved on to public audit with a presentation from the Comptroller and Audit General of the National Audit Office covering the work of the NAO, updates on the Redmond Review and their own strategic review and a summary of the Code of Audit Practice due imminently. 'Leadership and Kindness' was the subject of penultimate session of the day, looking interactively at how a culture of kindness in organisations can reap rewards in terms of higher staff morale and lower attrition rates, to name a few.

The day concluded with an update from the current CIPFA president around financial management. This highlighted how CIPFA is working to help public sector organisations in the current financial climate and the need to look at innovative ways of working, with the recently released FM Code. This is designed to provide an indicator of the financial sustainability of public sector organisations. Thanks to all those who organised and attended the event which proved very popular and was a great success. We hope to see you all in 2020 for our tenth anniversary.

Newcastle University Careers Fair, Monday 14th October 2019

A few CIPFA North East Committee members attended the Newcastle University careers fair held on Monday 14 October 2019 at St James Park football stadium, to promote CIPFA as an established professional accountancy qualification and highlight the opportunities open to those wishing to pursue a career in accountancy. It turned out to be a busy and interesting day with a steady stream of students requesting information on what CIPFA has to offer, with many unaware that we are part of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies. It was a great way to get increased exposure for the CIPFA brand and qualification targeted to that particular audience.

Graduation Ceremony, Friday 13th September 2019

We held our first ever graduation ceremony at the Mansion House in Newcastle to celebrate the achievements of our newly qualified graduates, members and prize winners.

The day started with a drinks reception followed by a speech delivered by past president Judith Savage, congratulating newly qualified students and welcoming them to the CIPFA family. This was followed by a speech from Chris Glennie, Director of Education and Lifelong Learning at CIPFA, who gave an introductory address and proceeded to present graduates and prize winners with their certificates.

Following group photos, lunch was provided and an opportunity to mingle and catch up with fellow CIPFA members. Thanks must go to those who organised this fantastic and well-received event, in particular Katy Laing and Judith Savage, and to all those who attended to make it a celebration of ongoing success in the North East region. Congratulations to all our newly qualified graduates, members and prize winners! View photos from the event.

Professional Update Day and AGM, 13th March 2019

The professional update day 'Empowering Organisational Resilience' and CIPFA in the North Easts Annual General Meeting took place at Gateshead Civic Centre. The afternoon started with CIPFA in the North East's AGM, where Jim Dafter began his two year term as president, taking over from Judith Savage.

Margaret Pratt, a past CIPFA president and member of the CIPFA Ethics working group, gave a talk on 'Ethics under Pressure'. Margaret took us through the results of the recent CIPFA Ethics survey, highlighting the worrying statistics demonstrating the extent of pressure to act unethically that many CIPFA members have felt, most notably in the health sector. Download Margaret's presentation.

Next, Cliff Dalton, Head of CIPFA Advisory Networks, gave an update on CIPFA's review into financial resilience in local authorities. To set the context, Cliff highlighted that around 65% of the UK government's spending is protected or ring fenced, including the NHS, defence and international aid, and therefore most of the cuts to public services have been borne by the remaining 35%, which includes local government. Local authorities have responding by re-imagining their statutory services, tapping into the flexibility of how these services can be provided. Cliff suggested there was a gap in the Codes of Practice CIPFA issues for local authorities, these currently being; The Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting (backward focused) and the Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities (forward focused), but nothing exists to assess 'where an organisation is now'. The new financial management Code aims to address this. Download Cliff's presentation.

Lastly, Paul Blacklock from Gateshead hospitals, gave a useful insight into the benefits of organisational coaching, how this differs from mentoring and how a 'coaching culture' has been developed at Gateshead Health NHS Trust. One of the key differences between mentoring and coaching is that mentoring focuses on career and personal development whereas coaching focuses on specific development areas or issues at work. Importantly, coaching helps individuals to learn rather than simply teaching them, this bringing benefits to both the individual and organisation. Download Paul's presentation.

CPD Event: An Auditor Calls... Getting the most from their visit

Presented by Mike Newberry and Phil Wherry from the National Audit Office (NAO), a mix of CIPFA and AAT colleagues gathered at the NAO office in Newcastle in July 2019 for a CPD session on how to get the most from the visit of an external auditor.

This excellent event outlined the role of the auditor along with many tips about how to get the most from the onsite visit. Mike and Phil outlined how best to prepare for a visit, including what can be prepared before the auditors arrive and what to expect when they are on site.

They also looked at what makes good quality accounts, the evidence required to support the accounts along with the pitfalls to avoid. The evening ended with a tour of the NAO offices and a look at their fantastic view over the River Tyne.

Thanks to both Mike and Phil for a very interesting session and for making us all feel very welcome. Download the presentation slides.

CIPFA North East Dinner, Friday 3rd May 2019

Over 70 CIPFA members and guests gathered for the 2019 CIPFA NE Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Newcastle. Dinner host Bruce Parvin thanked all the guests present for their support of the event, and emphasised the importance of the support of sponsors Mazars and Engie.

In his inaugural speech, new CIPFA NE President Jim Dafter paid tribute to his predecessor Judith Savage. He also highlighted the importance of effective networking and building relationships with colleagues within CIPFA, and particularly within the North East.

Jim also had the pleasure of presenting two awards, the national Dr Hedley Marshall Award to Bruce Parvin for his longstanding service to CIPFA NE region, and the David Clark award to Jason Smith for his efforts supporting the local CIPFA student network and activities.

Speaking about her pride at being CIPFA National President, Sarah Howard reflected on her longstanding involvement with the Institute, from grass roots level, in the original NE Region which stretched from Berwick down to Yorkshire and Humberside prior to the reorganisation in the late 20th century!

CIPFA's Business Development Manager Dan West then spoke passionately about SANDS, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity that supports parents who suffer the tragedy of losing a child in such circumstances. The fantastic sum of £570 was raised for the charity.